A Goochland woman facing animal cruelty charges has paid more than $5,700 to keep her 70 dogs, at least for now.
Annette Thompson came to the attention of authorities again last month, after her home caught fire. She's been accused of animal hoarding before. Thompson was convicted of inadequate animal care in 2011. Now, she's fighting five counts of animal cruelty.
However, Thompson filed an appeal to put a hold on the judge's order that she be banned from keeping companion animals. The judge ordered that if Thompson appealed, she'd have to pay a fee per dog, per week, for an extended period of time. That total amounted to $5,600, plus tax fees.
Thompson says she has used her retirement check to care for hundreds of stray dogs, for more than two decades. She says the animal organizations that she gives strays to, so they can be adopted, are pointing the finger at her.
However, animal control authorities say, five animals seized from her property this month, had to be put down.
Michael Caudill, the Goochland Deputy Commonwealth Attorney, says the dogs taken were in horrible condition.
"A couple of them were emaciated. One was in extreme distress," described Caudill.
Court documents describe one dog with an eye injury as "unable to hold its head up." Another dog with three legs was stated as "lying on a urine soaked animal bed."
"The five (dogs) that were euthanized were found to be neglected, as far as medical attention and just general health," continued Caudill. "The veterinarian who reviewed the animals, and evaluated their condition, decided they needed to be put to sleep."
Thompson says those animals had medical conditions, and were under a vet's care. Thompson says she provides as much food, shelter and medical attention as she can.
But is what Thompson gives enough? That question will be answered in court.
Thompson says she'll fight what she calls a witch hunt, again. The dogs will likely stay on Thompson's property until the case is resolved.
Caudill also says that several animal groups are working with Thompson to take some of the dogs off her hands.
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